Ricardo Lopes packed his bags and flew to Miami, Florida all the way from Brazil for his Shoot The Centerfold One-on-One session… not that there is shortage of a beautiful hot-blooded Brazilian models. Ricardo felt that combining the best of Brazil and STC One-on-One wisdom was the key to opening the door to his future. “When words become unclear, I want to explain my message via my photographs,” says Ricardo Lopes quoting Ansel Adams.
STC: Ricardo, you came all the way from Brazil to STC to brush up on your photographic skills. Where in Brazil are you from?
Ricardo: I am from Caratinga, Minas Gerais – a small town in the southeast of the country.
STC: It’s obvious Brazil hasn’t run short of beautiful models, you still chose Brazilian beauty Isabelle Fontes from Elite modeling agency to dance/photo Samba with you.
Ricardo: It wasn’t a hard choice. She has the features any photographer would love to shoot.
STC: What kind of photography do you normally shoot?
Ricardo: I mainly shoot portraiture.
STC: How did you find out about Shoot The Centerfold?
Ricardo: Through google.
STC: You photographed portrait and fashion images during your One-on-One session. What was the inspiration and goal?
Ricardo: My photography clientele in Brazil is based on portraiture. I wanted to learn how to make a modern portrait without breaking the bank. Most portrait photographers in Brazil do the old-fashioned portraits and I consider myself above them. Also, I’m in photography to make money on top of the images.
STC: There were small little details that made a big difference in the direction of the portraits. Was this something new for you?
Ricardo: Yes, this was very valuable information and it’s all in details, which often get overlooked. Its not that I don’t look at the details, but there is nothing in the world that really shows how specific images are done unless somebody decides to share them with you. It’s not the one big thing; it’s the million little things that bring everything together.
STC: What was the most valuable lesson that you learned during your STC One-on-One photo session?
Ricardo: Photography is much more than meets the eye. It’s about styling, hair and makeup and most importantly the lighting. What really intrigued me was the lighting aspect. I would have never in a million years figured out the little secrets that gave the look to the images that I shot. There is no specific formula like finding a shoe that fits. It’s about knowing how to handle light after your vision is clear. I always wondered how major beauty advertisements were done and now I know and have done the same.
STC: Your thoughts about your model Isabelle Fontes? You are both from Brazil.
Ricardo: I think she was a perfect fit for the job. Maybe our native language boosted my confidence and after seeing her in Aerosmith’s latest music video, it told me a great deal about her personality. Isabelle really knows how to deliver the look and she knows how to work the camera. An experienced model is a half the deal and the rest is up to the photographer. Talking about language, there are two languages here; our native Portuguese and body language.
You almost have to learn the body language, because not every model has it and it’s up to the photographer to know what to do when a model does not know how to move and portray her body and personality. What was a big surprise to me was that Jarmo also spoke Portuguese. It’s not everyday that somebody from Finland speaks Portuguese.
STC: Where do you see yourself photography-wise in next five years?
Ricardo: I’m not quite sure where I’ll be in five years, but in this coming year, I hope to improve my photography even more to be able to score more high-profile clients.
STC: Which camera(s) and lenses do you own?
Ricardo: I own the Canon 5D MKIII, 17-40mm, 35mm, 40mm, 50mm, 24-70mm, 85mm and the 70-200mm.
STC: What lenses did you use during your STC One-on-One session, and which was your favorite lens during the session?
Ricardo: We used the 85mm, a 70-200mm, a 200mm, and a 300mm. Being a portrait photographer, my favorite lens is the 85mm and on the shoot it wasn’t an exception. The 85mm is an amazing piece of glass, but being able to photograph with the teles was awsome!
STC: What do you see now differently compared to before your One-on-One session?
Ricardo: I don’t see the camera anymore as I used to! As much as I cherish my camera, I now realize what’s really important. A camera is nothing more that a box with a bunch of wires inside a plastic and metal housing and it should never be the driving force in your photography.
STC: Are you planning to purchase any photographic equipment in the future? If so, please explain which and why?
Ricardo: Yes. After using Jarmo’s AWESOME ringlight, I can’t see another way to get that amazing catchlight in the eyes. I need one of these.
STC: If money were not an object, what would you do differently in life and photography?
Ricardo: Travel, travel, travel. I love to learn about new cultures and their customs. In photography, I would try to photograph more for myself.
STC: What got you started in photography?
Ricardo: My father had a fishing trip to the Amazon planned and paid that he couldn’t go to, so he gave it to me. I didn’t know to fish so I thought I might get some good pictures. I got in a photography course and my father-in-law gave me his old photography gear. I could never let it go ever since. Always searching for the best professionals to learn from, I’m still trying to polish my photography.
STC: Married or Single?
Ricardo: I’m married and we have a beautiful daughter, Beatriz
STC: Photography is a common language in the world. If you would have to compare and find differences in photography between Brazil and the USA, or any other continents, what would those differences be?
Ricardo: I think that photography is more about the experiences that the person behind the camera has lived. I see a big difference with photography from hot weather countries like Brazil to cold ones. The photography seems to be a bit more uplifting, colorful and happy.
STC: Brazil has some really beautiful places to photograph. Could you name few in case we decide to come and visit?
Ricardo: The State of Bahia is very colorful and the people are amazing, with beaches like Jeribucaçu (Itacaré) and the Chapada Diamantina composing the scenery. There is also RIO, Fernando de Noronha, Lençois Maranhenses, the Amazon Jungle and São Paulo’s Urban Life to contrast the list.
STC: What’s an average portrait and commercial photographers day-fee in Brazil?
Ricardo: Around $450.
STC: What advice would you give to a fellow photographer or anyone who wants to get into business?
Ricardo: Don’t be equipment oriented. Good photography has very little to do with the gear used.
STC: What advice would you give to a person that wants to get into modeling?
Ricardo: Have a good pose repertoire and try to get in sync with what the photographer wants.
STC: Your photography business is in Brazil. Have you ever considered moving to another country instead, and why?
Ricardo: Not really, I was raised there. I know what the people here want from a photographer. To move to a different country would be very hard to adjust.
STC: If you can choose any place in the world to go photograph, where would this be?
Ricardo: India during Holi. I’m sure it will be a life changing experience.
STC: The publishing industry in Brazil seems to differ compared to the USA. For example, Playboy Brazil has always been very self-sustaining compared to other Playboy licensees around the world. They shoot most of their own pictorials and everything else that goes with it. Is it the tan lines that make it so popular, or something else we might have overlooked?
Ricardo: Playboy here is made for a higher social class market than in the USA. The girls that pose here for Playboy are always very popular actresses or athletes. The interviews and articles are also very well done.
(STC: Here is a clue! When the paper quality in a magazine gets thinner and thinner and less pages are published … this normally means that the publication is not doing so well. There seem to be no problems with paper quality in Brazil and tan line-filled pages are selling like hotcakes).
STC: Name the most popular men’s and fashion magazines in Brazil and why?
Ricardo: Playboy is Huge here in Brazil. They always get the hottest celebrities. And VOGUE for fashion. It’s considered the bible of fashion.
STC: There you go, and if Brazil is your future destination for photography, what’s better than having a friend with camera-in-hand to show you the ropes and how to get those beautiful models with amazing tan lines!
Shoot The Centerfold One-on-One sessions are available between our seminar/workshops while you wait for the next STC seminar/workshop to come around. You now have the option to attend a full one-day photo session with an STC master photographer:
- Stephen Wayda – Los Angeles
- Jarmo Pohjaniemi – Miami
- Ales Bravnicar – Slovenia
- Ric Moore – Dallas
- Byron Newman – UK London
STC One-on-One sessions offer a unique educational opportunity with personal tutoring from your choice of master photographers who will teach you photography and business. In addition to receiving valuable photo lessons as a group, you will also have the chance to be individually instructed and guided in a personal learning environment.